Beyond a topical fix – TRUST as the focal point

"Beyond a Topical Fix - Highlighting the need for TRUST in an organization" by Amy Eliza Wong, Executive Coach in the San Francisco, CA bay area

Trust in relationships is like oxygen. We feel the pain when it’s thin, and we don’t give it a second thought when we’re breathing easy.

With the velocity that technology is evolving, businesses are continually needing to recreate themselves to stay relevant. Companies compete for the brightest minds by ensuring their employees’ well-being. But, I’m not talking about fabulous free lunches, valet parking, or on-site masseuse.

Those perks go a long way to keep folks happy. But, these nice-to-haves don’t necessarily equate to a culture of thriving. Forward-thinking companies are going beyond the perks and prioritize the health or working relationships and team dynamics. They go the lengths to make trust a focal point.

As a Conversational Intelligence Certified Executive Coach, I am passionate about helping organizations do just that. Find what it takes to elevate the C-IQ of your organization and increase the trust in your culture.

Trust as the foundation

Leaders and team leads, however, don’t always think about trust first.

Usually, leaders reach out because they want to:

  • Build better relationships with teammates and cross-functional partners
  • Strengthen partnerships with senior leaders and agree on expectations
  • Get more out of their people
  • Establish communication norms with senior management
  • Improve listening skills
  • Create an environment for people to be themselves
  • Facilitate free-flowing ideation
  • Nourish honesty and sharing
  • Increase the teams risk and failure tolerance
  • Give and receive feedback better

On the surface, these asks may seem unrelated. Underneath all of them, however, is the need for a significant level of trust to exist in the culture.

Trust is created or eroded by conversations

Trust is a currency. It’s required to connect, empathize, and navigate effectively together. Sustaining trust requires maintaining a healthy Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ).

I use the C-IQ framework to increase the level of trust within a team. I introduce it to organizations when they reach out to transform interpersonal and performance-related challenges.

My recent engagement with a forward-thinking tech company highlights this. A 30-member team wanted to strengthen relationships with their cross-functional partners. They wanted to amplify what was working and put a finger on the things that could be better. They decided to focus on the soft stuff, which is often the hardest stuff.

Relationship Building

We had to make the invisible visible. I introduced them to the idea that trust facilitated powerful collaboration and innovation. And, that trust resulted from their communication patterns. Instead of topically addressing relationships, we could create transformative shifts at a foundational level.

In a half-day workshop, they identified their own C-IQ and practiced tools to increase trust with each other.

It’s so much clearer now! I see why I’m super successful in certain contexts, relationships, and projects and why it’s harder in others. And better yet, I know what to do now to improve some of the situations I’m in.

Introducing them to “The Three Levels of Conversations” revealed how conversations either open others up or close them down. Mapping typical conversations to the “Levels of Conversations” framework moved needle in a powerful way. They learned the nuances underneath their speaking and listening and appreciated that creating trust is not always intuitive. (That was a big eye-opener for many!) But, fortunately they found it simple.

Concluding our engagement, they left with a heightened awareness of their intention and impact and tools to facilitate better collaboration. They learned to ask questions for which they had no answers, double-click to close reality gaps, and practice more transparency. The team now regards trust not as a by-product of friendships but a living entity that requires care and attention.

Trust is like oxygen

Without it, we wouldn’t survive. Trust is oxygen for our interactions and relationships. We notice the negative effects when trust is weak, and we often don’t consider it when we’re thriving.

In today’s world, we don’t have the luxury to accidentally happen upon ideal environments for our highest thinking to emerge. If we’re to keep up with the rate of technological advancement and meet the world’s most pressing challenges, we need to go beyond the topical fixes, put a spotlight on trust, and nourish an awareness and conscientious practice of it. By minding your Conversational Intelligence® by bringing care, courage, and candor to the forefront of all your interactions, you can do just that.

Learn to increase trust in all your relationships

Trust isn’t a by-product of liking each other or simply the result of getting along. Learn how to increase your C-IQ and increase the currency of thriving in your life and work.

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